Azara Blog: The UK leads the way in keeping DNA profiles of its citizens

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Date published: 2006/01/21

The BBC says:

The government has defended storing the DNA profiles of about 24,000 children and young people aged 10 to 18.

The youngsters' details are held on the UK database, despite them never having been cautioned, charged or convicted of an offence, a Conservative MP found.

Grant Shapps obtained the figures in his campaign to have the DNA profile of a wrongly arrested teenager erased.

He fears a juvenile database is being created by "stealth". The Home Office said no-one lost out by being on it.

Suspects who are arrested over any imprisonable offence can have their DNA held even if they are acquitted.
Home Office minister Andy Burnham said no-one lost out through being on the database.

"It is not a criminal record to which public authorities and others have access.

"It is an investigative tool that the police can use according to their discretion."

He added there were "proper safeguards in place" as to how DNA information could be used.

The Home Office announced earlier this month that 7% of the UK population would be on the database in two years' time. It is already the biggest in the world and has so far cost £300m.

Just over 5% of UK residents currently have their DNA profile held, compared with an EU average of 1.13% and 0.5% in the US.

Of the three million samples held at present, 139,463 are from people never charged or cautioned.

Well about the most useful aspect of the article is to quantify yet another potential abuse of power by the Blair police state. It's rather touching that the Home Office trusts the police, but why should anyone else? And needless to say, the bigger the database, the more the mistakes (it would be interesting to get figures on that as well). The UK public is also the most videoed in the world. And cars will soon enough be permanently tracked.

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